Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home offers homebuyers fashion home runs and strikeouts when shopping for a home. It might not be obvious that what you wear when house hunting can impact what you pay for a home. Years of showing homes and introducing prospective buyers to home sellers, the way buyers project themselves fashion-wise makes a big impression.
First impressions by real estate agents and home sellers are all they have when assessing potential buyers. If you appear well-groomed, under-stated and wear home price-range-appropriate clothes you could pay less than the tattooed, big-hair, over-jeweled and torn-blue jean buyer your in competition with in multiple-offers for the same home. Buying a home is a business transaction, think business wear when shopping for a home.
-Pants are fine, but make sure they’re not low riders.
-Ditch the tee shirts, tank and tube tops. House hunting is not a vacation.
-Skirts are great. Minis send the wrong message.
-Wear comfortable but presentable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking, climbing up stairs and in and out of transportation.
-Forget high-heels. Spiked heels on shoes can easily dent bamboo and other softer wood floors. Plus if you got into the yard to take a look at the roof you might end up aerating the lawn.
-Leave the animal prints for when you’re out to a nightclub. Busy or fussy fashion looks can be distracting and not on everyone’s top ten fashion list.
-Simple jewelry and limited amounts accent your business perspective. Omit the » bling » otherwise you might end up paying more for a home, because the sellers think you can afford it.
-Simplify make-up, hair and manicure styles to appeal to the majority of people. You’re not going to get a better deal because the sellers love your fabulous acrylic nails.
-No fur coats, ever. It’s a political and extravagant statement that could cost you a home or an additional $10,000.
-No low cut or revealing looks. Very rarely do homebuyers get a discount for sex.
-Verify shoe soles aren’t caked with mud before you enter any open house. Many a homebuyer never made it to the kitchen after walking across freshly cleaned carpet with dirty shoes.
-No jogging, gym-wear, bike shorts or swimsuits. Unless, you’re testing the workout facilities in a condominium building on your second visit.
-Business-casual pants are best, but if you must wear jeans, make sure they’re clean and not ripped.
-Open collar shirts work fine, but realty agents and home sellers don’t need to see your buffed or not so buffed chest or four gold chains.
-Think twice about sporting more than one earring. If we were all the same life would be boring.
-Omit muscle and tee shirts and no underwear elastic waistbands displayed please. You might turn Ms. home seller on, but Mr. home seller might not appreciate it.
-Limit tattoo exposure, they’re the rage, but not for everyone. Ditto the ladies on this one.
-Wear simple patterned shirts with matching plain pants. Remember that red denotes power.
-Don’t over-dress to impress. Leave the cuff links and French cuffed shirts at home.
-Coffee « go-cups » aren’t a fashion accessory. Coffee is easily spilled on carpets when walking up stairs or opening closets and cabinets when touring properties.
-Baseball caps are for bad hair days. Plus they send the wrong negotiating message when purchasing the largest asset you’ll own.
-Wet umbrellas should be parked outside the front door, not on hardwood floors or entry tables and chairs.
-Wear slip on shoes when touring open houses. You might be asked to remove your shoes out of cultural respect to the owner, inclement weather or newly installed floor coverings.
-If you don’t want to take off your shoes buy and carry blue disposable surgical booties-or ask your agent for a pair.
-You must wear socks or stockings. No sandals, period. If you are asked to remove your shoes, owners don’t necessarily want your bare feet on their floors.
-Cell phones. If you need to make or receive a call go to a place where you won’t disturb others at the open house. Never negotiate a home purchase contract on a different property contract while your viewing a home.
-Carry bicycle and motorcycle helmets with you. Ask before your park them on any surface.
-Shorts are okay if they are close to knee length. No torn or overly tight styles.
-Dress for the season. Don’t wear shorts in snow or black wool in August, even if it is your best house-hunting outfit.
-Remove your sunglasses when inside buildings. People expect some eye contact.
-Go easy on the perfume. Many people have allergies to it today and they could be the owners of the house you fell in love with.
-Put cigarettes, cigars and pipes out of view. They’re not exactly a popular fashion or political statement in 2006.
-Tops, pants, shoes and socks required.
-Diapers are not fashion.